Penguins roar back from deficit to beat the Islanders
The Penguins showed up at a shootout without their top gun • not to mention much of their ammunition • but roared back from an early deficit to earn a feel-good win against the Islanders.
Right wing James Neal scored twice and right wing Pascal Dupuis produced the game-winner as the Penguins defeated the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, 6-3 before a crowd of 15,638.
Left wings Steve Sullivan and Matt Cooke, along with defenseman Paul Martin, added goals.
The Islanders took an early 2-0 lead as Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury endured an unusually shaky start.
But the Penguins • playing without centers Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Richard Park, along with defensemen Kris Letang, Zbynek Michalek and Robert Bortuzzo • would not be denied on this evening.
Steve Sullivan struck late in the first period to pull the Penguins within a goal, and Neal followed by drilling home a pass from center Evgeni Malkin to even the game.
Neal was just getting started.
After Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo scored to give New York a 3-2 advantage, the Penguins found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play. This has been an area of great frustration for the Penguins, who entered the game only 2-for-10 on the with two-man advantage this season, including a brutal two-game stretch that had seen them go scoreless despite being presented with 4:20 of 5-on-3 time.
This time, the Penguins kept their formula simple, and it resulted with an easy goal.
Sullivan fired a shot on net from the left circle. Montoya managed to make this save, and another stop on left wing Chris Kunitz`s effort, but Neal gathered a loose puck and buried it into an empty cage for his 17th goal, which leaves him only one off the NHL lead.
Neal is currently on pace to score 46 goals.
Dupuis then put the Penguins ahead for good, drilling a slap shot past Montoya for his ninth goal of the season.
The Penguins stormed the Islanders in the third period, easily putting the game away. Cooke scored on the rebound of right wing Tyler Kennedy`s shot to make it 5-3, and defenseman Paul Martin later scored his first goal of the season.
Malkin finished with two assists and was easily the game`s dominant player.
The Penguins are now 4-0 against the Islanders this season and 5-0 against them since last season`s infamous Feb. 11 brawl.
After two days off, the Penguins return to action Tuesday at Consol Energy Center against Detroit.